News in 5: Daily lives of ‘captive’ siblings; Flight’s terrifying landing; Avo shortage.

Video via NBC News

Warning: This article contains information about child abuse which may be distressing for some readers.

1. One meal a day and showers twice a year: Police reveal details of the lives of 13 children held captive by their parents.

turpin family california siblings details
Image via Facebook.

Shocking new details have emerged about the daily lives of 13 siblings who were held captive by their own parents in a Californian home.

According to NBC News, authorities have said the abuse the children - aged between 2 and 29 years old - suffered was "unimaginable".

The children were only allowed to shower just twice every year, and were given only one rationed meal per day.

"They're not being fed and they're living in these filthy, dirty conditions," Captain Greg Fellows, from the Riverside County Sheriff's Department, told reporters during a press conference.

"That's going to take it's toll."

Despite taking a trip to Disneyland and visiting Las Vegas when their parents renewed their wedding vows, the siblings were largely cut off from the outside world.

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"They weren't allowed to watch TV. They weren't allowed to have friends over - the normal things that kids do," the children's aunt, Teresa Robinette, told NBC's Today show.

The children were found after a 17-year-old girl escaped the home and dialled 911 from a disabled cell phone. She was so malnourished emergency responders first believed she was just 10 years old.

Authorities have said some of the siblings were "shackled to furniture" in "urine-filled" rooms. The siblings were so weak, they are currently receiving antibiotics, vitamins and nutrition via I.V. in hospital.

Investigators have conducted an exhaustive search of the home, as David Turpin, 57, and Louise Turpin, 49, are set to go before a judge in Riverside County on Thursday (US time) on charges of torture and child endangerment.

"We have investigators on scene, combing through everything they can find for additional evidence," Riverside Sheriff's Deputy Mike Vasquez told AAP by telephone.

"They're trying to gather more information that may assist them in providing a full description of what was going on there. The whole house is a crime scene."

If you or someone you know is in need of help, please call the National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service on 1800 RESPECT.

2. "It was like hell": Malaysian Airlines flight forced to land in Alice Springs after experiencing technical issues mid-flight.

Passengers on a Malaysian Airlines flight forced to land in Alice Springs due to technical issues have described their fear after the plane began rattling during the flight.

Flight MH122 from Sydney to Kuala Lumpur was close to the West Australian coastline when it was forced to divert to Alice Springs on Thursday afternoon, AAP reports.

Malyasian Airlines said the plane was forced to land in the Northern Territory for "technical reasons" in a statement.

Passenger Maryna Delport Evetts said engine problems had been blamed for the diversion.

"So just when you think this would never happen to you or it just happens in the movies, on our flight back home, four hours into the journey we had engine failure," Ms Evetts posted to Facebook.

"We turned back and we are now sitting at the Airport in Alice Springs. Not too sure when we will be leaving but hey ho, we are on terra firma.

"Not a good feeling 10,000 feet up in the air."

Chris Kanani, the husband of a passenger aboard, told ABC News his wife described the experience as "hell".

"She said she was on the loo when she started hearing loud banging noises from the right-hand side of the plane and that's when all it started," he said.

"It was like hell this flight and they were told to be ready for an emergency landing."

Another passenger wrote on social media that the crew seemed "nervous" when the engine started making loud, disturbing noises.

"One of the crew stopped near us and one guy said 'are we crashing or are we landing," a passenger, Donna Edwards, told 9 News.

"The crew member said 'I don't know'.s

"We were just bracing for the worst. I thought I was going to die."

Malaysia Airlines said safety was its number one priority, and it would provide more information on the technical issue when it was available.

3. Australian cafes might be forced to pull avo smash from their menus amid a national shortage of the fruit.

An avo shortage might change the menu of your favourite cafe. Image via Getty.

It's bad news for avocado lovers, with a change in season and a delay in the fruit hitting supermarket shelves causing a major shortage across the country.

According to 9 News, the lack of avocado supply has seen some cafes paying up to three-times the normal price for a box of the fruit. Some are paying up to $89 per box to meet their customer's demands.

A barista from Raw Espresso on the Gold Coast, Benjiman Siven, told 9 News the prices were so high, the cafe is temporarily taking avocado items off their menu until the supply is boosted.

"Unfortunately, for the avo punters, it's not very good for them," he said.

"They're missing out on the avo smash and the avocado on toast."

Another cafe manager, Sophia Kemp from Paradox Coffee Roasters cafe, said they were struggling to cope with the demand without passing the rising cost of avocados onto their customers.

"We couldn't possibly charge any more, but it does cost us six dollars every time someone orders a side of avocado," she said.

"It's one of our main dishes that we sell so it's very important that we don't hurt any locals or impact on any of our customers."

Thankfully, one avocado producer says supply is expected to increase in February, which means prices should drop.

Farmer David Freeman said the speed at which avocado becomes more available depends on how quickly growers can harvest.

"Depending on how many Shepards come on the market, the price will ease definitely and I'd say by mid-February, the prices will be back to normal," he said.

4. Parents warned as study reveals children wearing 'mermaid tails' and single-fin pool toys are at a greater risk of drowning.

Children who wear mermaid tails and single-fin pool toys are at greater risk of drowning because their ability to swim is reduced by up to 70 per cent, a study has found.

The Perth-based review commissioned by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, and conducted by the Royal Life Saving Society of WA, compared the swimming performance of 25 children aged two to 12, before and after they wore the toys.

It found the mermaid fin hindered a child's ability to swim by 70 per cent while the tail reduced it by 60 per cent, with the greatest impact recorded on younger children, AAP reports.

"Children are the greatest risk group for drownings in WA and any product that further increases this risk is a major concern," RLSSWA manager Lauren Nimmo said.

"Mermaid tails and fins reduce a child's ability to swim by making it significantly more difficult for children to float, restricting their movement and increasing tiredness."

However, about 75 per cent of children in the trial said they would be happy to use the tail again.

Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard said parents and guardians must carefully consider whether these products are appropriate for their children to use.

The ACCC has recommended restricting the products to children over the age of 10 and increasing adult supervision.

Mr Hillyard said concern about the mermaid toys was first raised two years ago after a video from the United States, showing a girl getting stuck upside down in her family's backyard pool while wearing a mermaid tail, went viral on social media.

"She was rescued by her mother who luckily was close by, but this could have ended very differently if an adult had not been present," he said.

5. US President Donald Trump has announced the winners of his first 'Fake News' awards.

Image via Getty.

President Donald Trump has finally tweeted out a list of winners of the first Fake News Awards, but the link to a Republican National Committee site turned up error messages at first.

It's unclear if the site was overloaded. An RNC spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment, according to AAP.

When the site was back up and running, The New York Times columnist Paul Krugman was revealed as the big winner for "claiming markets would 'never' recover from a Trump presidency."

Others on the list were ABC News' Brian Ross, CNN, Time, and the Washington Post's Dave Weigel.

Earlier this month, Trump promised to unveil the award winners on Wednesday, but as the workday ended, late night comics like Trevor Noah and Samantha Bee began to question and quip about the stalled awards.

Trump, though, tweeted out a link to the awards at 8pm.

Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel and others skewered Trump's plans for the awards, coming in the midst of Hollywood's own award season, but some lawmakers on Capitol Hill took the president's actions as an attack on press freedom. Republican Senator Jeff Flake delivered a blistering speech on the Senate floor on Wednesday morning, and his colleague John McCain wrote an op ed calling on Trump to stop attacking the news media.

Trump later tweeted that "despite some very corrupt and dishonest media coverage, there are many great reporters I respect and lots of GOOD NEWS for the American people to be proud of!"

6. 'Diabolical' batting collapse sees Brisbane Heat lose their top three spot on the WBBL ladder.

Alyssa Healy WBBL
Alyssa Healy of the Sydney Sixers. Image via Getty.

A diabolical batting collapse has resulted in the Brisbane Heat losing their third spot on the WBBL ladder during a hard-fought nine-run loss to the Sydney Sixers at the SCG, AAP reports.

The Sixers were inspired on Thursday by Alyssa Healy's stunning return to form and Dane van Niekerk's all-round brilliance.

In an entertaining clash, Healy's spectacular season-best 70 underpinned the Sixers' imposing 5-160. The Heat had looked well on track to reel in the target while gun opener Beth Mooney was firing.

The WBBL's leading run-scorer, Mooney (60) combined with captain Kirby Short (35) for a rapid-fire 94 runs for the opening wicket. Short's exit sparked a calamitous 10-57 collapse for Brisbane to be skittled for 151.

The Heat lost 7-25 from their last 25 deliveries. Three wickets fell in three balls - including a run-out - in the last over from Sarah Aley (3-31).

Earlier, the belligerent Healy dominated an 84-run opening-wicket partnership with Ellyse Perry before falling to an excellent Jess Jonassen catch at point.

Healy's departure brought player-of-the-match van Niekerk to the middle and the South African skipper provided the late fireworks.

Her unbeaten 44 off just 23 deliveries included five fours and a six which she followed up with a fine spell of 2-28, including the key scalp of Mooney.

Spinners Jemma Barsby (2-19) and Grace Harris (2-22) were the pick of the Heat bowlers who, otherwise, were dealt with harshly by Healy and van Niekerk. This dominance ultimately proved the difference and allowed the Sixers to leapfrog Brisbane into third spot.

Live stream WBBL free here.

7. A common household pot plant is responsible for sending Australians to the hospital with traumatic ear injuries.

woman watering plants house plant pot plant
Image via Getty.

Plant enthusiasts and home decorators are being warned about the dangers of a popular pot plant, which has been linked to a series of traumatic ear injuries in Australians.

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, yucca plants, which are characterised by their sword-shaped leaves, have been involved in at least 28 cars of ear trauma since August 2012.

An article published in UK journal Clinical Otolaryngology warns that the yucca's leaves are narrow enough to pierce a person's eardrum.

"You wouldn't think that a little pointy leaf that goes into your ear could possibly cause serious injury [but] it's more like a fencing sword; it's narrow enough to get right down through the ear drum," one of the authors of the study, Professor Stephen O'Leary, told The Sydney Morning Herald.

"Most of us were surprised when we started getting these cases through, but then we looked back and thought, hang on, this is happening a lot.

"And it can go really wrong indeed."

Cases involving the plant include perforated eardrums, and in four of the most severe cases, the yucca leaves penetrated the inner ear, causing fluid to leak out.

All four patients suffered permeated hearing loss as a result of their injuries.

It's not known how the yucca leaves came to pierce patient's ears, but it's thought that in attempts to shield their eyes from the sharp leaves, people were turning their heads and ears towards it instead.

"The yucca plant is a nice plant and we don't want to say it's not," Professor O’Leary said.

"But you might want to think about giving it a bit of a haircut – and just think about where those spiky little fronds are pointing."

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